Stump Stabber – Scary Sounding But Super Harmless Wasp

Stump Stabbers both look and sound like scary insects, but they are actually gentle giants of the wasp world. In this article, we look more closely at these insects.

The Stump Stabber is better known as the Giant Ichneumon Wasp

This freaky-looking giant insect with a long ovipositor might just be the perfect example of not judging someone by their appearance. 

So today, let us tell you about the stump stabber wasp and the origin behind its name. 

Stump Stabber - Scary Sounding But Super Harmless Wasp

What Are Stump Stabbers?

A large wasp that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie, the Giant Ichneumon wasp, also goes by called a stump stabber. 

People often mistake their 4-inch-long ovipositor for stingers and assume that they must be dangerous insects. 

On the contrary, these wasps are unable to sting or bite humans. They do not harm us in any way. 

They use the ovipositor to drill holes in trees to lay their eggs on a pigeon’s horntail. That’s where the name “stump stabber” and the rather unfortunate “stump fucker” comes from.

Let’s talk about why they do this.

Why Do They Bore Holes in Trees?

The stump stabbers have a strange but fascinating way of rearing their young. 

Female stump stabbers use their antennae to track pigeon horntail and similar kinds of wood wasp larvae, who are the chosen hosts for these parasitoid larvae. 

The wood wasp larvae are mainly found chewing away wood and rotting it from the inside. 

The process of laying eggs starts with the mother stump stabber boring tiny holes in trees using their long ovipositors.  

She precision drills the bark, and when she finally reaches the larvae, she slowly starts transferring her eggs from its body onto the pigeon horntails.

The eggs left behind hatch and start to feed on the horntail larvae. 

They soon start growing larger and healthier, staying and pupating inside the wood throughout the winter. 

This well-nourished new adult wasp emerges in the spring to carry on the life cycle of the stump stabbers. 

Stump Stabber - Scary Sounding But Super Harmless Wasp

What Do These Wasps Look Like?

A female stump stabber can grow up to 2 inches long. They have black, orange, or white strips on a reddish-brown body. 

The ovipositor is an extension protruding out from the wasp’s body that can grow to at least 4 inches long. 

The males do not have an ovipositor or a stinger, and they are only about half and inch in size. 

What Does The Ovipositor Look Like?

The ovipositor of the female stump stabbers has evolved with the dual purpose of boring wood and laying eggs. 

This long tube-like structure can reach upto 4 inches, going deep inside the wood. 

The structure is divided into three main parts with interlocking strands and cutting tips.

The third part of the ovipositor is a tube that is used to transport the eggs from the wasp to the pigeon horntails. 

Stump Stabber - Scary Sounding But Super Harmless Wasp

Can Their Ovipositor Sting Humans?

If you notice the ovipositor of a stump stabber up close, it will look like a needle sticking out of the insect’s body. 

But unlike the sting of wasps and bees, the wasp does not use it for stinging. And due to their three-part structure, it is not capable of stinging either. 

The only purpose of the ovipositor is to drill holes into dead or rotten wood and deposit the eggs inside the trees. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a wasp with a long tail?

Wasps with a giant tails are known as the long-tailed giant ichneumon wasp, scientifically called Megarhyssa macrurus
The females’ ichneumons have some of the longest ovipositors, upto 4-inches long. These creatures are most commonly found in Missouri, USA. 

What kind of wasps live in Washington State?

There are a few different types of wasps that you can find in Washington state. 
Yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps are the most common of the lot. There are also mud daubers, which are solitary wasps and tend to keep to themselves. 

Can ichneumon wasp lay eggs in human?

Wasps cannot lay their eggs in humans, in fact there is only one known parasitoid that can lay its egg in humans – the hookworm. 
The nature of parasitoid wasps is that they lay their eggs on the bodies of host insects. 
They prey on an insect, paralyzing them and laying their eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the already paralyzed prey and derive the required nutrition. 

Are ichneumon wasps rare?

No. They are known by a unique name like ichneumon wasp, but these stump stabbers are extremely common garden insects. 

They belong to one of the most common wasp species in the world. These species are 60,000 to 100,000 in the number living in different environments across different terrains. 

Wrap Up

While they may look scary, stump stabbers are harmless and elegant creatures. They are also beneficial insects since they feed on pigeon hornworms that eat trees from the inside making them hollow. 

So if you spot one in your garden, know that they are probably finding a place for their new house. You can safely live in peace with them around your garden. 

Thank you for reading! 

Reader Emails

Stump stabber is a colloquial and rather unfortunate name for giant ichneumons, and this is something we in fact came to know from our readers.

Read through the emails and how we discovered why these wasps were given this name.

Letter 1 – Short Tailed Ichneumon

help please? What’s this bug?
Found in Danville, California in a kitchen in late afternoon, for whatever that’s all worth. Can’t find a closely matching description anywhere. The antennae are extremely long, about the same length as its hind legs.
Thanks!
Ethan Filner

Hi Ethan,
You have sent in a very interesting photograph of a Short Tailed Ichneumon, Ophion species. Large specimens get to close to an inch in length, not counting the long antennae. Adults drink nectar and larvae eat the internal tissues of caterpillars, hence they are beneficial. They are actually a type of Wasp, but do not sting. They are attracted to artificial lights, which might explain the presence in your kitchen.

Letter 2 – Short Tailed Ichneumon Wasp

Wasp/Grasshopper Cross?
December 27, 2009
Hi Bugman,
I’m hoping you can help me identify this odd red bug. I’ve not seen one before and a cousin thinks it looks like a cross between a wasp and a grasshopper. Don’t know about that . . . anyway, it was very angry with me for bothering it and waved it’s antennae about wildly! I thought it best to leave it alone and hope I’ve gotten a good enough photo for you to be able to help identify. Thanks very much!
Anna Carreon
Hawthorne, California

Short Tailed Ichneumon Wasp
Short Tailed Ichneumon Wasp

Hi Anna,
This is a Short Tailed Ichneumon Wasp, probably in the genus Ophion.  They are solitary wasps that parasitize caterpillars, and they are important natural biological control species.  The ovipositor is short, and we have read reports that it might pierce human skin.  BugGuide has some information and photos.

Short Tailed Ichneumon Wasp
Short Tailed Ichneumon Wasp

Letter 3 – Short Tailed Ichneumon

OMG I hope it doesn’t bite…!
Location:  New Paltz, NY
September 23, 2010 3:59 pm
Was about 2-2.5 inches from antenae to back legs. Abdomen was very flat and perpendicular to the glass window it was on. Looking straight down on it, it looked like a large insect from behind with big eyes – markings to fool prey from behind, no doubt… You can zoom pretty far in on photo – decent resolution
Signature:  Yeesh that’s cool!

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear Yeesh,
This is a Short Tailed Ichneumon in the genus
Ophion, which you can verify on BugGuide. Ichneumons are in the same insect order as the bees and wasps, but most do not sting.  Not long ago we learned that some Ichneumons are capable of stinging.  They are parasitoids, and the female Ophion preys upon caterpillars, generally laying a single egg.  According to BugGuide:  “Adult Ophion species will hunt for their host caterpillar. Usually one egg is laid per host. Caterpillar usually dies during pupal stage though wasp larva remains to pupate itself.”  BugGuide also indicates that adults are attracted to lights.

Letter 4 – Short Tailed Ichneumon, we presume

Unknown Fly
Location: England, London, Esher
November 4, 2010 11:40 am
Hello! I am 14 and this bug flew into my face during the night, it was terrifying. I kept it in a jar but felt kind of guilty, so now I’m wondering what on earth it actually is, it doesnt seem to be any of the flies Ive looked up (craneflies etc.) because it always has one major feature different. It has long antennae, sometime appears red tinted but generally brown, six legs, an abdomen that hangs on a tiny little string! The picture isnt great and i had only enough battery for one photo, so ive drawn a picture in paint to help.
I’d love to know what the fly is, i’ve never been so intrigued about bugs before!– That photo has turned out to be terrible, hopefully my picture would be enough! Thanks so much if you get the time to identify! If it helps I saw it rubbing its legs on its abdomen, or eachother, at some point and when it flies the wings go to either side. It has tiny whitish rings around its tiny bead-like black eyes.
Signature: Nick

Short Tailed Ichneumon we believe

Dear Nick,
We are nearly certain you have drawn a Short Tailed Ichneumon.  We recently posted a photo from New York that we identifies as a member of the genus
Ophion and it looks nearly identical to your drawing.  Ichneumons are internal parasites and many prey upon caterpillars.  These Short Tailed Ichneumons are often attracted to lights at night.

thanks it looked just like that! Just a bit darker.  thanks for answering so fast as well, great job! 😉

Letter 5 – Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp from Saskatchewan

Subject: It’s pretty looking, but that stinger isn’t!
Location: Southern Saskatchewan (Regina)
July 5, 2013 5:28 am
I found this wee friend hanging out in my room this morning. It’s just kicking into summer here, and the insects are becoming plentiful. He’s about an inch long, attracted to light, and didn’t seem very active. I’m just glad I noticed the stinger and didn’t use my bare hands to remove him. 🙂
Signature: CheeseStix

Short-Tailed Ichneumon
Short-Tailed Ichneumon

Dear CheeseStix,
This is an Ichneumon Wasp, a member of a group of Parasitoid Wasps that parasitize other insects and arthropods.  We believe this is a Short-Tailed Icheumon in the genus
Ophion which you can find pictured on BugGuide where it states:  “Adult Ophion species will hunt for their host caterpillar. Usually one egg is laid per host. Caterpillar usually dies during pupal stage though wasp larva remains to pupate itself” and “They are often attracted to artificial lights.”  Most Ichneumons, including Giant Ichneumons in the genus Megarhyssa, which can have five inch long stingerlike ovipositors, are harmless and do not sting, however we have read that Ophion species might be capable of stinging.

Letter 6 – Short Tailed Ichneumon

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Georgetown KY
March 25, 2015 8:05 pm
My husband was stung by this bug. We have never seen one before. It is red and flies. What is it?
Signature: Diana

Ichneumon
Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear Diana,
This is an Ichneumon, a member of a family of parasitic wasps.  Most Ichneumons are perfectly harmless, though there is one genus, Ophion, that is reported to sting.  Your individual appears to be a member of the genus Ophion, the Short Tailed Ichneumons, which you can read more about on BugGuide.  We believe this is the insect that is mistaken for a stinging Crane Fly as Crane Flies do not sting.

Letter 7 – Short Tailed Ichneumon

Subject: Stinging bug
Location: colorodo
April 7, 2015 8:55 pm
got stung in the leg. Never seen a bug like this before.
Signature: kW

Short Tailed Ichneumon
Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear kW,
We believe your parasitic Ichneumon Wasp is a Short Tailed Ichneumon in the genus
Ophion, one of the few genera in the family known to sting.  The sting is not considered dangerous.  According to BugGuide:  “Most all Ophion larva are parasites of caterpillars.”

Letter 8 – Short Tailed Ichneumon

Subject: Weird bug
Location: San Antonio, Texas
January 12, 2017 2:55 pm
Hello,
I found this slender yellow bug on my way to get the mail today. It has large blue eyes, long antennae, semi-long legs, and a long backside. Can you help me figure out what kind of bug this is? I’ve searched 10 websites and have not been able to figure it out!
Signature: Courtney Richardson

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear Courtney,
This is a parasitic Ichneumon in the genus
Ophion, the Short Tailed Ichneumons.  You can compare your individual to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Most all Ophion larva are parasites of caterpillars” and “Adult Ophion species will hunt for their host caterpillar. Usually one egg is laid per host. Caterpillar usually dies during pupal stage though wasp larva remains to pupate itself.”  It should also be noted that Short Tailed Ichneumons are frequently attracted to lights, and though Ichneumons are considered harmless to humans, the Short Tailed Ichneumons are capable of stinging.

Letter 9 – Short-Tailed Ichneumon

Subject:  Help!
Geographic location of the bug:  North western KS
Date: 09/01/2017
Time: 12:02 AM EDT
So this big was in my house and one of my kids (being a kid) tried to pick it up and got stung. Her whole finger is bright red and she’s telling me it feels like it was smashed. Any clue what this guy is!?
How you want your letter signed:  Lauren

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear Lauren,
Whenever we receive a submission or comment from a person claiming to have been bitten or stung by a Crane Fly, we immediate suspect a Short-Tailed Ichneumon like the one in the image you submitted.

Letter 10 – Short-Tailed Ichneumon

Subject:  What is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Arkansas
Date: 08/31/2017
Time: 08:41 PM EDT
Hello. This bug is not afraid of anyone getting close to it at all. It was on my shirt last night and then I knocked it off. A few minutes later it stung or bit my wrist and it stung for quite a bit. I’ve never seen a bug like this. We found it again today and I was trying to kill it but it was very tough to kill. Any ideas? Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Sam

Short-Tailed Ichneumon

Dear Sam,
This is a Short-Tailed Ichneumon in the subfamily Ophioninae, the only group of Ichneumons capable of stinging humans.

Letter 11 – Bug of the Month April 2018: Short Tailed Ichneumon

Subject:  Bug identified – Ichneumon wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  California – Yolo County
Date: 04/02/2018
Time: 10:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:
“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.” -Darwin
I recently asked about this insect I found in my laundry room. I thought it some type of crane fly at first, but the head was very different, no proboscis. Thought it pretty awesome that Darwin had mentioned it in a letter, makes me happy that he and I shared curiosity over the same insect.
How you want your letter signed:  TobyG

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear TobyG,
You are correct that this is an Ichnuemon, more specifically a Short Tailed Ichneumon in the genus
Ophion based on this BugGuide image, and not a Crane Fly.  Though most Ichneumons cannot sting humans, it is our understanding that this particular genus is capable of stinging, and we suspect that the reports we have received of stinging Crane Flies are actually Ichneumons.  We will be featuring you submission as our Bug of the Month for April 2018.

Short Tailed Ichneumon
Short Tailed Ichneumon

Letter 12 – Short Tailed Ichneumon from Turkey

Subject:  Insect Identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Canakkale Province, Turkey
Date: 08/10/2021
Time: 05:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This insect has been collected in Sorghum crop field and it is needed the identification of this insect species. Moreover, the attached pictures are original and taken from my Samsung S5 mobile phone under open field conditions of the Çanakkale Province Turkey. Thanks in advance for this insect identification. Regards.
How you want your letter signed:  Dr. Baboo Ali

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear Dr. Baboo Ali,
This is a Short Tailed Ichneumon Wasp, a parasitic wasp that preys upon a specific plant feeding species or genus or possibly family of insects.  You have requested an identification, but interestingly, all three of your attached images which have lengthy file names also include this information:  “
Ophion_Arı_Erkek_Edited_2021.07.12″.  What we find most interesting is that the genus name for a group of Short Tailed Ichneumons is actually Ophion and that word is in your file name.  Of the genus Ophion, BugGuide, a North American insect identification website states:  “Most all Ophion larva are parasites of caterpillars”  and “Adult Ophion species will hunt for their host caterpillar. Usually one egg is laid per host. Caterpillar usually dies during pupal stage though wasp larva remains to pupate itself.”  So, if your concern is the sorghum crop, this is a beneficial insect that is most likely hunting caterpillars that feed on the sorghum.

Letter 13 – Male Stump Stabber

Giant Wasp look-a-like damselfly
Location: Pandora, Ohio – NW OH Rural town on Creek
August 30, 2011 8:51 pm
Saw this giant bug today by the woodpile. I thought it was some sort of damsel fly, but it has antennae!? Sort of looks like a giant wasp too? Very weird. I live in NW Ohio on a creek. We were cutting down trees, and it was hanging out with a smaller mate, on the wood pile. Very docile and calm. Can you identify it ?
Signature: Itching to find out

Male Giant Ichneumon

Dear Itching to find out,
Stop your scratching.  This is a male Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, probably Megarhyssa macrurus. The Giant Ichnuemons, we recently learned, are called Stump Stabbers because of the long ovipositor of the the female.  We rarely get photos of male Giant Ichneumons, so we are very pleased to be able to post your beautiful images.

Male Stump Stabber

The hole in the wood in the lower right of one of your photos is most likely the exit hole of either this individual, one of its siblings, or possibly, its host insect the Pigeon Horntail.  Giant Ichneumons parasitize the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.  Ichneumons are classified with wasps and bees in the order Hymenoptera.  Thank you for including a photo with a human finger for scale.

Male Giant Ichneumon

Awesome !  Thanks for the info – – glad I could be of help as well !   I will go out again today to see if I see them again !
Itching

Letter 14 – Stump Stabber

It’s killing the trees!!!
Location: Avon, CT, USA
September 10, 2011 4:43 pm
Just wondering what kind of insect this is. I tried other bug identification sites and came up with nothing. Any help would be great. Thanks.
Signature: ???

Giant Ichneumon

Dear ???,
We have recently learned that Giant Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa, like the one in your photo, are commonly called Stump Stabbers because of the long ovipositor that the female inserts in stumps and dying trees.  This Giant Ichneumon is not killing your trees.  The health of the trees were most likely already compromised when the trees became infested with the larvae of a wood boring wasp called the Pigeon Horntail, our Bug of the Month for September.  The Stump Stabbers are parasitic insects whose larvae prey upon the wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntails.  We believe your Stump Stabber is Megarhyssa macrurus.

Letter 15 – Stump Stabber

Is this some sort of wasp?
Location: Northern Indiana (Goshen)
October 31, 2011 9:43 am
Can you help my family identify this bug/wasp/whatever-it-is? We found it on our sliding glass door last week (mid-October, late afternoonm, in Northern Indiana, weather is about 50 degrees F).
We strive to teach our children (ages 1 through 10) that bugs are fascinating, not scary, but this one looked rather menacing to all of us. So, we’re hoping for your help in identifying so that we can appreciate this glorious critter!
Signature: Many thanks! the Norris family

Stump Stabber

We might have figured it out…
Location: Goshen, Indiana
October 31, 2011 9:52 am
Just sent an email moments ago, and have since looked over your top ten. I think that the critter on our sliding glass door is a Giant Ichenumon? Thanks for your great website! Fascinating and fun!
Signature: The Norris family

Dear Norris Family,
We agree that you have identified one of the Giant Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa, though we are not certain of the species.  We are especially fond of the common name Stump Stabber for these parasitic hymenopterans.

Stump Stabber

Letter 16 – Stump Stabber

Megarhyssa nortoni
Website:
November 14, 2011 10:42 pm
thank you for the photos that match my insect in question  it was very helpful to know what it is – we are in central pa have never seen these before in our area
thanks again
Signature: kathleen

Megarhyssa nortoni by Sandy Mallet

Thanks for your sweet comment Kathleen.  Since you did not submit a photo, we found a beautiful image of Megarhyssa nortoni, one of the Stump Stabbers, that was taken by Sandy Mallet and posted to BugGuide in 2007.  It became a question of plagiarism when it was submitted to What’s That Bug? in 2010 by Leona Garrett.

Letter 17 – Stump Stabber deposits eggs in dying tree

Bug found in Canada
Location: Algonquin Park Canada
February 22, 2012 8:00 pm
Hi
We took these pictures of an insect in Algonquin National Park in Canada during mid August last year and have been wondering what it is and if it’s giving birth or something.
Please help
Signature: Chris and Maren

Giant Ichneumon Oviposits

Dear Chris and Maren,
This is a positively gorgeous photo of a Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa depositing her eggs beneath the bark of a dying tree.  Another large member of the order of insects that includes bees and wasps, the Pigeon Horntail, has wood boring larvae that are the host insect to the developing larva of the Giant Ichneumon.  We believe your Giant Ichnuemon is Megarhyssa macrurus.  Though the Giant Ichneumons appear to have incredibly long stingers, sometimes as much as five inches in length, the Giant Ichneumon is perfectly harmless and will not sting.  Giant Ichneumons are sometimes called Stump Stabbers.

Letter 18 – Stump Stabbers stabbing a stump!!!

Subject: unknown bugs
Location: Belleville Ontario Canada
May 23, 2012 7:41 pm
Hi, i found these 2 bugs in my wood pile do you know what they are? and would they sting you?
Signature: thanks Pam

Stump Stabbers: Giant Ichneumons

Hi Pam,
This is a marvelous photo of two female Giant Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa, probably Megarhyssa macrurus, and they are using their lengthy ovipositors to lay eggs beneath the surface of these stumps.  The larval Giant Ichneumons parasitize the larvae of a Wood Wasp known as the Pigeon Horntail.  Giant Ichneumons are also commonly called Stump Stabbers.  They will not sting you, however, we concede that it is possible that if they are carelessly handled, the ovipositor might pierce the skin.

Megarhyssa macrurus females ovipositing

Letter 19 – Male Stump Stabbers await emergence of female

Subject: Strange wasp looking things
Location: Corinth, NY
May 31, 2012 8:13 am
There were quite a number of these odd looking creatures all over the base of a dead tree, that a pileated woodpecker has been trying to chop down for the last couple of years.
Signature: Ken Rohling

Male Giant Ichneumons await the emergence of a female

Dear Ken,
This is an awesome photo.  The insects pictured are Giant Ichneumons,
Megarhyssa atrata, and they are commonly called Stump Stabbers.  These individuals are all males (see BugGuide) awaiting the emergence of a female for mating purposes.  The female Giant Ichneumon is responsible for the name Stump Stabber.  She has a very long ovipositor which is easily mistaken for a stinger.  She uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the bark of dead and dying trees.  Her offspring feed on the wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail.  We have seen photos of male Giant Ichneumons awaiting the emergence of a female, but never in such great numbers.

Thanks, if you want the original file, just ask. There were dozens more right around there, and I would have shot more if I had known they didn’t sting. Usually, I’m not skittish, but last spring I hit a nasty nest of ground nesting hornets with a leaf blower, and took a couple dozen hits on the face and arms before I managed to dive into the river, shedding the blower in a blind run. Lol

Letter 20 – Stump Stabber appears exhausted

Subject: found on wood pile
Location: Middle of North Dakota
July 8, 2012 9:03 pm
Local camper brought this into my office about two weeks ago. It is not something we see around here. Just curious what this is. It is vibrant purple with a yellow head. It was returned to the area it was found. It was not aggressive,very sluggish.
Thanks for any help
Signature: Mal

Stump Stabber: Megarhyssa atrata

I found a photo of one =) Giant Ichneumon – Megarhyssa atrata

Dear Mal,
This iconic parasitic wasp is commonly called a Stump Stabber or Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata.  A female, like the one in your photo, uses her Ovipositor to lay eggs in dead and diseased wood that is being eaten by the larvae of the Pigeon Horntail.  Your Stump Stabber appears to be exhausted. 

Letter 21 – Stump Stabber caught Ovipositing

Subject: What’s that in Marblehead, MA
Location: Marblehead, MA USA
July 16, 2013 5:16 am
This was hanging outside….
Signature: Theresa

Giant Ichneumon Ovipositing
Giant Ichneumon Ovipositing

Dear Theresa,
This is a harmless, beneficial, parasitic Hymenopteran, a female Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, and she is in the act of ovipositing.  She uses her long ovipositor to deposit an egg beneath the surface of a dead or dying tree or branch that are infested with the wood boring larvae of a Wood Wasp known as a Pigeon Horntail.  The egg hatches and the larval Giant Ichneumon feeds upon the larval Wood Wasp.  Giant Ichneumons are commonly called Stump Stabbers.

Letter 22 – A Pair of Stump Stabbers

Subject: Male & female Giant Ichneumon Wasps
Location: Naperville, IL
September 22, 2013 9:27 pm
Hi Daniel~
I spotted these male and female Giant Ichneumon wasps hanging out on a dead river birch tree when the female began to oviposit directly into the exit hole of what I assumed was a pigeon horntail wasp. I did find the remains of the lower half of a pigeon horntail, its ovipositor stuck firmly into the same tree. It appeared as if the Ichneumon’s ovipositor separated into three sections; all three went into the hole, but only the longer, blacker section remained inside the hole throughout the process. I thought that Ichneumon wasps drilled directly into dead wood after echo-locating a pigeon horntail larva, but perhaps she was using the inside of the exit hole as a starting point. It was fascinating to watch!
All the best,
Signature: Dori Eldridge

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber ovipositing

Hi Dori,
We love the common name Stump Stabbers for Giant Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa.  We believe your individuals are Megarhyssa macrurus.

Male Giant Ichnuemon
Male Giant Ichnuemon

Update:  April 8, 2014
We are frequently asked if Giant Ichneumons can sting, and we always reply that they cannot.  We just found a fascinating article.  According to Icheumon Wasps by Lloyd Eighme on Skagit.wsu:  “It might frighten you, but if you could watch it long enough you would be amazed at what it does. It lands on the bark of a tree and crawls up and down, tapping with its long antennae, obviously searching for something. Eventually it finds the spot it is looking for and begins to drill into the bark with its long needle-like ovipositor. It has detected the larva of a horntail wasp chewing its tunnel in the wood an inch or more below the surface of the bark. The ovipositor is made up of three stiff threads, hardened by minerals, that fit together with a groove in the center. Vibrating those sharppointed threads forces them into the bark and sapwood of the tree to contact the horntail grub in its tunnel. An egg is forced down the ovipositor to parasitize the grub. If the ichneumon parasite larva killed its host, they would both die, trapped in the solid wood which the parasite is unable to chew. It only feeds on the nonvital organs like the fat body until its host has nearly completed its life cycle and has chewed its way out near the surface of the bark. Then it kills and consumes its host grub and completes its own life cycle to emerge as another giant ichneumon wasp in the genus Megarhyssa (mega=large; rhyssa=tail) to start over again. You can see both Megarhyssa and its horntail wasp host in the MG collection.
People often ask if the ichneumon wasps will sting them with their needle-like ovipositors. The wasps are interested only in laying eggs in caterpillars or other insects, but if you handle a live one it may try to sting you in self-defense. Small ones could not likely penetrate your skin, but larger ones might be able to

Letter 23 – Stump Stabber is a handful

Subject: what is this insect
Location: ms
November 27, 2013 5:48 pm
Please help me
Signature: kasie dickerson

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear kasie,
This Giant Ichnuemon in the genus
Megarhyssa is commonly called a Stump Stabber because of the method employed by the female when laying eggs.

Update:  April 8, 2014
We are frequently asked if Giant Ichneumons can sting, and we always reply that they cannot.  We just found a fascinating article.  According to Icheumon Wasps by Lloyd Eighme on Skagit.wsu:  “It might frighten you, but if you could watch it long enough you would be amazed at what it does. It lands on the bark of a tree and crawls up and down, tapping with its long antennae, obviously searching for something. Eventually it finds the spot it is looking for and begins to drill into the bark with its long needle-like ovipositor. It has detected the larva of a horntail wasp chewing its tunnel in the wood an inch or more below the surface of the bark. The ovipositor is made up of three stiff threads, hardened by minerals, that fit together with a groove in the center. Vibrating those sharppointed threads forces them into the bark and sapwood of the tree to contact the horntail grub in its tunnel. An egg is forced down the ovipositor to parasitize the grub. If the ichneumon parasite larva killed its host, they would both die, trapped in the solid wood which the parasite is unable to chew. It only feeds on the nonvital organs like the fat body until its host has nearly completed its life cycle and has chewed its way out near the surface of the bark. Then it kills and consumes its host grub and completes its own life cycle to emerge as another giant ichneumon wasp in the genus Megarhyssa (mega=large; rhyssa=tail) to start over again. You can see both Megarhyssa and its horntail wasp host in the MG collection.
People often ask if the ichneumon wasps will sting them with their needle-like ovipositors. The wasps are interested only in laying eggs in caterpillars or other insects, but if you handle a live one it may try to sting you in self-defense. Small ones could not likely penetrate your skin, but larger ones might be able to

Letter 24 – Stump Stabber scares mechanics!!!

Subject: Ichneumon Carnage
Location: Centrsl Illinois
May 19, 2014 10:20 pm
Dear Bugman (bugpeople???)
An insect-loving biologist friend helped me identify this wasp last year, but I just now found the carnage section of your site and figured I would share the love (and maybe help add more imagery of North American Ichneumons?) This deceased little lady wandered into the garage after dark and stuck herself to a halogen worklight after scaring the bajeezus out of my friends. Nothing funnier than grown men covered in grease, rebuilding engines and drinking beers suddenly turning into screaming sissies when something gives em a good buzz. 🙂 I peeled her off the light but it was too late, she was fried. My friend pointed me to Ichneumon and using your site and some google imagery I think I have pegged it to Megarhyssa Atrata; though of course I defer to you. It was a very warm August night and we had the bay door of the garage open, halogens blaring. I understand these Ichneumon critters are light attracted? Anyway thank you for everything you do to help educate the masses and f or giving me a bit of absolution with my friends that crawly and creepy don’t necessarily mean expendable.
Signature: Bug-lovin-wrench-monkey

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear Bug-lovin-wrench-monkey,
While we are terribly amused by your story of Mechanics terrorized by a harmless Stump Stabber, a fun common name for
Megarhyssa atrata as well as other Giant Ichneumons in the genus, we cannot tag your submission as Unnecessary Carnage which we reserve for postings that have creatures deliberately killed by humans.  This accidental death, while tragic, does not meet the qualifications for Unnecessary Carnage.

Letter 25 – Stump Stabber stepped on in Denver!!!

Subject: Looks like a crane fly but not sure?
Location: Denver, CO
June 8, 2014 7:28 am
What is this interesting looking insect? My mother in law found it in our backyard and stepped on it but it didn’t die just broke off most of the wings. We aren’t really sure what it is but someone said it looked like a crane fly. I couldn’t find any pictures of crane flies with the crazy long stinger things like this so that’s why we aren’t sure.
Thanks,
PS. We found it June 7, 2014
Signature: LW

Stump Stabber Carnage
Stump Stabber Carnage

Dear LW,
This magnificent parasitoid is a Giant Ichneumon commonly called a Stump Stabber because the female inserts her substantial ovipositor into dead or dying wood that has been riddled by the wood boring larvae of a Wood Wasp.  Though you were uncertain of the identity of the Stump Stabber when you first encountered it, and though it might appear quite frightful if one imagines that the ovipositor is a stinger, we are nonetheless tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage as we believe the Stump Stabber to be a beneficial insect.

Letter 26 – Male Stump Stabbers

Subject: Backyard Wasp
Location: West Virginia
June 9, 2014 8:42 pm
Can you please help identify this bug? Thank you!
Signature: Bob Escargot

Male Stump Stabbers await emergence of female
Male Stump Stabbers await emergence of female

Dear Bob,
What a wonderful image you have provided.  These are male Giant Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa, and females of the genus are commonly called Stump Stabbers because of the way they use a lengthy ovipositor, sometimes as long as five inches, to lay eggs beneath the surface of dead or dying trees or branches.  That wood is infested with the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail, and the larval Ichneumons feed on the larval Wood Wasps.  We believe these males are awaiting the emergence of a virgin female who has begun to release pheromones as she makes her way back to the surface so that they can mate.

Letter 27 – Stump Stabber

Subject: Never seen before
Location: Ohio
June 9, 2014 8:43 pm
This is an odd bug I have never seen flying around before. It looked like it was trying to drill into a stump the other day when it was noticed. If you know what this is and if it’s dangerous, an answer would be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Aly

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear Aly,
Your inquiry is perfectly timed since we have just posted an image of two males Stump Stabbers which we believe are awaiting the emergence of a female.  This is a Stump Stabber, a female Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa and she is laying eggs.  The eggs will hatch into larvae that feed on the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps, like the Pigeon Horntail.  Stump Stabbers are beneficial and not considered dangerous.  They are not aggressive and we have never heard of anyone being pierced by the impressive ovipositor, which can be as long as five inches.  It is designed to lay eggs, not to sting.

Letter 28 – Bug of the Month July 2014: Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Ed. Note:  This is not the first time Megarhyssa atrata has been featured as Bug of the Month.

Subject: Female Megarhyssa Atrata
Location: St Paul, MN
June 25, 2014 9:13 am
After finding your great web site I learned the name of the bug in my back yard. They were on a tree we were cutting down. Because it seemed to be laying eggs I decided to leave the stump for a while. Attached are some photos you may use. It is interesting to me that I have never noticed these before.
Signature: DS in MN

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!
Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Dear DS in MN,
Thank you for your most kind compliment.  The ovipositing female Giant Ichenumon or Stump Stabber, 
Megarhyssa atrata, is one of the most iconic North American insects and her image has been used to illustrate even really early entomological tomes as well as many popular insect books with broad appeal to popular culture.  Your images are stunning, especially the first one that depicts two individuals.  Just exactly what is going on in that image is most curious.  The tangle of bodies makes it appear that both females are trying to oviposit in the same location.  The female Giant Ichneumon is able to detect the location of the larva of a Wood Wasp that is feeding beneath the surface.  The larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail will serve as the prey of the larval Stump Stabber.   We have designated your submission as the Bug of the Month for July 2014.

Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing
Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing

A large Stump Stabber can have an ovipositor nearly five inches long, and one of your images captures the classic position of a female looping the organ as she drills beneath the bark to deposit her egg where the young will have a food source.

One, impressive organ:  five inch ovipositor
One, impressive organ: five inch ovipositor

Update:  June 26, 2014
Dear Daniel Marlos,
I just had to write one more time. The first set of photos I sent were of the first time I had seen a flying insect of its kind, today I went to see if they were still on the stump, I found a new type. See attached photos. The first photo is from my phone. The second and fourth photos capture an ant crawling -shows size a little better. I am excited to show these, I hope you can use them.
Thanks
Dan
P.S. There were ovipositing female Megarhyssa strata remains (wings and part of a tail) left on the stump! I guess a bird had a good snack.

Megarhyssa macrurus
Megarhyssa macrurus

Wow, what a wonderful addition to the Bug of the Month posting.  Your new Ichneumon is most likely Megarhyssa macrurus, and you can compare your images to those on BugGuide.  Your observation and speculation about the bird is a very good guess.  The female Giant Ichneumon is quite vulnerable while her ovipositor is buried deep in the wood, and she would not be able to easily fly away from a predator.  We have also heard of female Giant Ichneumons getting stuck and being unable to withdraw the ovipositor.

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs
Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs

Letter 29 – Female Stump Stabber laying Eggs

Subject: flying bug
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
June 27, 2014 10:47 am
In our backyard we seen a flying bug with something green coming from its tail? The green was circular in shape.
Signature: Len

Stump Stabber laying eggs
Stump Stabber laying eggs

Hi Len,
This is a female Stump Stabber or Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, and the eggs she lays will hatch into larvae that will feed upon and parasitize the larvae of Wood Wasps that are feeding beneath the surface.  Has you checked out our featured postings, you would have seen that the Stump Stabber is our Bug of the Month for July 2014.  The green membrane is part of the structure of the long ovipositor which allows the Stump Stabber to lay her eggs well below the surface of the bark.

Letter 30 – Stump Stabber

Subject: What is it
Location: Minnesota
July 4, 2014 11:50 am
We saw this bug on our dying oak tree. He and his friends remind me of a scorpion but we live in Minnesota.
Signature: P.Pratt

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear P.Pratt,
This is a magnificent image of a female
Megarhyssa atrata, commonly called a Stump Stabber.  The female Stump Stabber uses her lengthy ovipositor to place her eggs deep beneath the surface of dead and dying trees that are infested with the larvae of Pigeon Horntails and other Wood Wasps.  The larvae of the Stump Stabbers hatch and feed upon the larvae of the Wood Wasps.  They are considered parasitoids that parasitize and eventually kill the host insect.

Letter 31 – Stump Stabber

Subject: What is this?
Location: hamilton michigan united states
July 19, 2014 4:16 pm
This bug flew into our window when we drove into town …Kind of scary looking! what is it and should we be concerned?
Signature: Tammy Davis

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Hi Tammy,
This Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, is commonly called a Stump Stabber.  The female of the species possesses an ovipositor that can approach five inches in length which she uses to deposit her eggs deep beneath the surface of trees and stumps that are infested with the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.  The larval Stump Stabber feeds on the Horntail larva and then pupates, emerging from the stump as a winged adult.  Male Stump Stabbers which lack the ovipositor, can sense the emergence of a female through the release of pheromones and will congregate and await her coming to the surface in order to mate.  You have nothing to fear from the Stump Stabber unless a female mistakes an arm or leg for an infested log.  Wasps do have mandibles, and since both male and female Stump Stabbers must chew their way to the surface of the stump they developed in, they might also bite a person, but we do not believe such a bite would hurt or cause any problem.

Letter 32 – Stump Stabber laying eggs

Subject: Freaked out mom
Location: Maryland/Pennsylvania
August 11, 2014 3:03 pm
Found this bug up at grandpas farm. Wondering what it is worried if it stings the kids. Found it a few weeks ago hanging around the dead walnut tree.
Signature: Concerned

Stump Stabber laying eggs
Stump Stabber laying eggs

Dear Concerned,
This is a female Ichneumon in the genus Megarhyssa, commonly called a Stump Stabber.  She is in the process of laying eggs.  Stump Stabbers are not aggressive towards humans.  The eggs layed beneath the bark will parasitize the larvae of Wood Wasps that are feeding on the dead or dying tree.

Letter 33 – Stump Stabber

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Spring Grove, Pa (south central PA)
September 24, 2014 5:25 pm
We found several of these in a pile of firewood in our backyard. They have bored many holes in the logs.
Signature: Michele

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Hi Michele,
This Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa is commonly called a Stump Stabber.  The female lays her eggs in wood that is infested with the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps and the larval Stump Stabber parazitizes the larvae of the Wood Wasps.

Letter 34 – Stump Stabber

Subject: Gorgeous Giant Ichneumon Megarhyssa
Location: Jonesboro, AR, USA
November 19, 2014 6:29 pm
Hello!
I found this lovely lady on my back porch today. We have had freezing temperatures lately and though it reached almost 50 degrees, I think she was pretty frigid. She was pretty easy to scoop up in some Tupperware. After some research I discovered she was harmless and about this time she warmed enough to begin trying to use her ovipositor on my Tupperware. Obviously, she never succeeded, but a couple of times she even tried beginning ‘unzipping’ her abdomen to begin laying eggs. Alas, she couldn’t figure out how to bore into plastic though so eventually gave up. I hope she was able to finish the process outside in spite of the dropping temperatures. I have seen many Ichneumon in our area, but never her particular species. I couldn’t get a good shot of the ruler, but from antenna to ovipositor she was about 5 inches.
Signature: Heather Buckholtz

Stump Stabber in captivity
Stump Stabber in captivity

Dear Heather,
A female Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber is an fearsome looking, yet harmless parasitic wasp.  Other than
Megarhyssa atrata, we are reluctant to attempt a species identification on members of the genus.

Letter 35 – Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber

Subject: Weird Bug
Location: Harrisburg PA
May 23, 2015 5:46 am
Dear WTB:
I was hoping you could tell me what kind of insect this is. I found it hanging out on my screen door this morning and it scared the crap outta me! It’s all different colors and has this long tail? It’s not a stinger because it could move it. All together it’s probably about 8-12 inches long. I hope you can ID it for me! Thanks so much!
Signature: Audrey

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear Audrey,
This is a Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, a group that is commonly called Stump Stabbers because the female uses her lengthy ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the surface of trees infested with the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.  We have never heard of a person being stung by a Giant Icheumon in the genus Megarhyssa, so we consider them to be harmless, though there is one group of Ichneumons in the genus Ophion with shorter ovipositors that are reported to sting people.

Letter 36 – Male Stump Stabber, not Dragonbee

Subject: Dragonfly/Yellow Jacket
Location: Pembroke, ON.
June 2, 2015 8:26 am
A friend of mine spotted this interesting insect on the side of a home the other day in Pembroke, ON. I don’t really have too many details, However, I do have an image! They’re calling it a “Dragonbee”
Signature: However

Male Stumpstabber
Male Stumpstabber

Dear However,
As much as we like the name “Dragonbee”, we are not ready to promote it as an alternate name for this male Stump Stabber, though one would probably never attribute that name to the male of a
Megarhyssa species.  The name is quite apt for the female Stump Stabber which actually stabs stumps with her long ovipositor while laying eggs that will eventually parasitize a larval Wood Wasp. We believe your Stump Stabber is Megarhyssa macrurus, based on images posted to BugGuide and the listed range data there.

Letter 37 – Megarhyssa atrata: Stump Stabber

Subject: Bug ID Please
Location: Alpena, Michigan 49707
August 16, 2015 4:50 pm
The attached photo is a bug that appears to be boring into my maple tree. Location is Alpena, Michigan. Can you identify this bug and let me know what damage it can do and how to get rid of it.
Thank you,
Dan Daoust
Signature: Black ink

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear Black ink,
Any child raised on the Golden Book nature series will recognize the Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, commonly called a Stump Stabber.  This female in the process of laying eggs is not causing any harm to your tree.  Conversely, she is laying her eggs where the larvae that hatch will come into contact with the wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail.

Thanks for the quick reply and the info.  Is there anything that I need to do to prevent tree damage from the wood wasps. It appears as though they are hard workers.

It is our understanding that they do not attack healthy trees, so your maple was probably already compromised.  Promptly removing dead and diseased branches should help.

Letter 38 – Stump Stabbers Ovipositing

Subject: Ichneumons
Location: Minneapolis, MN
September 1, 2015 9:19 pm
Here’s a cool photo of two Ichneumons, taken today in Minneapolis by my daughter Colette Walters while out on a walk, very warm here.
Signature: Jodie Walters

Stump Stabbers
Stump Stabbers

Dear Jodie,
We agree that Colette’s image of two Stump Stabbers laying eggs is quite beautiful.  They appear to be
Megarhyssa macrurus.

Letter 39 – Stump Stabber

Subject: Strange Flying Insect in Ohio
Location: Northeast Ohio, near water
June 1, 2016 5:51 am
Hello,
I was hoping you could help me to identify this strange flying insect I saw while hiking yesterday. It was spotted in Northeast Ohio near a stream.
Thank you,
Signature: Cody Couch

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear Cody,
This is a Stump Stabber, a Giant Ichneumon in the genus Megarhyssa, and she is laying her eggs where they will parasitize the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps known as Pigeon Horntails.

Letter 40 – Stump Stabber

Subject: Giant Wood Wasp??? Or not
Location: Northern Ontario
July 16, 2016 11:44 am
Real curious about the attached bug.
Found it flying they an open wooded area.
Was thinking it might be a Giant Wood Wasp but the long (5-6″)tail made us think otherwise.
Signature: Regards, Teshaun

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear Teshaun,
This is a Giant Ichnuemon, Megarhyssa atrata, commonly called a Stump Stabber, and anyone who has ever watched a female Stump Stabber laying eggs might be fooled into thinking it is a Wood Wasp.  Wood Wasps, including the Pigeon Horntail, oviposit or lay eggs on dead and dying trees and the larvae are wood borers.  The Stump Stabber is a parasitoid whose larvae feed on the larvae of Pigeon Horntails.

Letter 41 – Stump Stabber on the windshield

Subject: Mosquito
Location: Dayton Ohio
September 5, 2016 5:41 pm
Hello
On my way back from my daily run at the local hiking trail and this scary looking thing stuck to my windshield and didn’t move for quarter of a mile. I had to take a picture of it while driving but I was careful. But look at the stinger! I’ve never seen a mosquito quite like that.
This is sept. 6th in southwestern ohio
Signature: Nathan B.

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear Nathan,
This is NOT a Mosquito.  It is a parasitic Giant Ichneumon wasp in the genus
Megarhyssa, and it is commonly called a Stump Stabber because the female uses her lengthy ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the bark of trees that are infested with wood boring larvae of Horntails, including the Pigeon Horntail.

Letter 42 – Stump Stabber

Subject: Cool bug in Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
October 3, 2016 2:36 pm
Thanks for having this site, I’m a nature enthusiast and try to treat most bugs with admiration and respect. Saw this interesting bug in a hallway yesterday and was curious what kind of bug it is.
Signature: AB

Stump Stabber
Stump Stabber

Dear AB,
This is a Giant Ichneumon in the genus Megarhyssa, and it is commonly called a Stump Stabber because the female uses her lengthy ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the bark of trees where the larvae will feed on the larvae of wood boring Horntail larvae.

Letter 43 – Stump Stabber

Subject: Is this a wasp of some kind
Location: Frontierland Clearwater, KS
May 13, 2017 9:52 pm
Hey, Bugman, our Boy Scout Troop was at Frontierland camp in Clearwater, KS today and we saw this bug and no one knew what it was. We’re hoping you can tell us. Thank you so much!!
Signature: KarenLuce

Stump Stabber

Dear Karen,
Members of the Giant Ichneumon genus
Megarhyssa are frequently called Stump Stabbers because the female uses her incredibly long ovipositor to lay her eggs in the wood boring larvae of Pigeon Horntails.  Your individual is Megarhyssa macrurus, but we believe the scouts are more likely to remember that they saw a Stump Stabber.

Letter 44 – Stump Stabber

Subject: crane fly or ichneumon wasp or something else entirely?
Location: Dover, PA
May 27, 2017 5:25 am
Hi – a friend of mine asked me what this is. He said it was ‘bigger than a normal wasp’. Thank you !!!
Signature: Sue

Stump Stabber

Dear Sue,
This is indeed a Giant Ichneumon, probably
Megarhyssa macrurus, and Giant Ichneumons are frequently called Stump Stabbers because the female uses her very long ovipositor to lay eggs in dead and dying wood that is infested with wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail, a species upon which the Stump Stabbers prey.

Thank you so much !
Sue

Letter 45 – Stump Stabber

Subject: Strange Dragonfly
Location: Macdonald Township, Echo Bay, ON Canada
July 21, 2017 12:37 pm
This little fella looks sort of like a Dragonfly of some kind. I’ve never seen one quite like this though, has me curious. Any thoughts?
Signature: -Mick

Stump Stabber

Dear Mick,
This is NOT a Dragonfly.  This is a female Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, commonly called a Stump Stabber, and she is in the act of laying eggs.

Thanks so much for the speedy reply, been in the maple bush a lot of years and myself or my father have never seen these little gaffers.
-Mick

Letter 46 – Stump Stabber

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Colchester,Connecticut
August 3, 2017 7:13 pm
Check out the long tail on this. The entire critter is sbout 7 inches long. I spotted it in early August in Colchester, Connecticut on a maple tree.
Signature: David

Stump Stabber

Dear David,
What you are calling a tail is actually the ovipositor that this parasitoid female Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa macrurus, commonly called a Stump Stabber, uses to lay her eggs beneath the bark of trees that are infested by the host insect, the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.

Daniel:
Thanks for the identification of the Megarhyssa macrurus. That’s some bug!
Since I began building a naturalized permaculture forest of fruit trees and companion plants I have been taking more time to observe insects. What an amazing world.

Letter 47 – Stump Stabber

Subject:  What is this cool bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Hesperia, MI
August 27, 2017 8:47 AM
We found this on our motorhome going through a pre-flight cleaning, but attached is a picture, it’s tail is amazing!
How you want your letter signed:  The schroeder’s

Stump Stabber

Dear Schroeders
This is the largest, and arguably the most impressive, North American parasitoid Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, commonly called a Stump Stabber because the female uses her lengthy ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the bark of trees that are infested with wood boring Horntail larvae.

Letter 48 – Stump Stabbers laying Eggs

Subject:  What is that wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mountains by provo Utah
Date: 06/16/2018
Time: 02:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw several very big wasps while camping in the mountains next to provo Utah. At first we were a little afraid of them do to their size, but eventually we realized they were not interested in us. We saw them mostly on the trunks and branches of the trees in small groups. Their body’s were long and slender, at least 2 inches long, with long legs. They had a “stinger” that was twice as long as its body, but really mobile and bendable. Just curious what it might be. We have lived in the city at the base of the mountain for decades and have never seen them before.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious Canpers

Stump Stabbers

Dear Curious Campers,
These are female Ichneumon Wasps in the genus
Megarhyssa, commonly called Stump Stabbers because they use their long (up to five inches long) ovipositors to lay eggs in trees and stumps that are infested with wood burrowing Horntail larvae.

Stump Stabbers

Letter 49 – Stump Stabber

Subject:  Is this some kind of wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Rural Upstate NY
Date: 06/25/2018
Time: 09:46 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug was trapped inside our screened porch June 20 this year. It was over 2 inches long.  Thanks…
How you want your letter signed:  Matt

Stump Stabber

Dear Matt,
This is a harmless, parasitic Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, a group commonly called Stump Stabbers because the female uses her long ovipositor to lay eggs in stumps and trees that have infestations due to wood boring larvae that provide food for the larval Stump Stabber.  Ichneumons are classified in the same insect order as Wasps, Ants and Bees. 

Letter 50 – Stump Stabber

Subject:  This bug / insect scares me
Geographic location of the bug:  Goodlettsville TN
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 07:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This see picture has shown up on my front porch. It flies quickly if you try to get near it. Is it harmful or dangerous? It scares me.
How you want your letter signed:  Karen

Stump Stabber

Dear Karen,
The Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber is neither harmful nor dangerous, but the lengthy ovipositor is frightening looking.  This is a beneficial insect.  The female uses her ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the bark of trees infested with wood boring larvae, and the Ichneumon larva feeds on those wood boring larvae.

Letter 51 – Stump Stabber

Subject:  Crane Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Ontario
Date: 08/09/2019
Time: 05:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this beautiful large insect with amazing colours and couldn’t help but take a picture and try to figure out what it was. The bug looks so deadly but my logic tells me it’s some sort of crane fly that wouldn’t harm you but you never know. I’m thinking someone else might find this insect really cool looking.
How you want your letter signed:  Crane fly???

Stump Stabber

This Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa macrurus, is commonly called a Stump Stabber because the female uses her very long ovipositor to drill into trees infested with Horntail larvae, and then to lay eggs.  Ichneumon larvae feed on the Horntail larvae.

Letter 52 – Stump Stabber

Subject:  What’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Alabama
Date: 08/15/2019
Time: 10:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this?
How you want your letter signed:  Gillian McCown

Stump Stabber

Dear Gillian,
This is a female Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, probably Megarhyssa macrurus.  Giant Ichneumons are sometimes called Stump Stabbers because the female uses her long ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the bark of trees infested with wood boring larvae of Horntails.  They are not aggressive and they do not sting.

Letter 53 – Stump Stabber

Subject:  Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  East Greenville PA
Date: 06/30/2021
Time: 03:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Any chance you know what insect this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Heather

Stump Stabber

Dear Heather,
This is a Stump Stabber, the common name for the Giant Ichneumon
Megarhyssa atrata.  Your individual is a female and she uses her very long, up to five inches in length, ovipositor to deposit her eggs in dead and dying wood that contains the wood boring larvae of a Wood Wasp known as a Horntail, which is the food for the Stump Stabber larva.

Reader Emails

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Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Stump Stabber sighted in Michigan

 

Subject:  What is this flying insect? It was about 3” long with approx a 3” stinger (?) attached. Geographic location of the bug:  Near Battle Creek, MI Date: 08/20/2022 Time: 04:00 PM EDT Your letter to the bugman:  Appreciate you identifying this insect for us. We have never seen one of these before and have live here for over 60 years! V/r How you want your letter signed:  Dave Hlatko
Stump Stabber
Dear Dave, Thanks for your inquiry.  This is one of Daniel’s favorite insects to educate about, Megarhyssa atrataa species commonly called the Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber.  Daniel distinctly remembers as a child seeing an impressive image of a Giant Ichneumon in his copy of Insects: A Guide to Familiar American Insects.  Your individual is a female and what you have mistaken for a stinger is her ovipositor, an organ that allows her to deposit her eggs.  In the case of the Giant Ichneumon, the ovipositor is able to drill into dead and dying wood to lay an egg near the tunnel produced by the larva of the Pigeon Horntail, a type of Wood Wasp.  Because of her ability to oviposit, the Giant Ichneumon is sometimes called a Stump Stabber.  The stingers of bees and wasps are modified ovipositors that have evolved into an organ that helps to defend the insect from threats.  

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

63 thoughts on “Stump Stabber – Scary Sounding But Super Harmless Wasp”

  1. The species is Megarhyssa macrurus. 2 of the species in this genus are easily identifiable from their markings alone; M. greenei is distinguished by the absence of pigmentation along the basal vein.

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  2. This is a real long shot, but it is not entirely unheard of to have passed centipedes. It is thought that they may be ingested along with vegetable matter. Geophilus carpophagus has been removed from humans before, and it lookd fairly similar to the one in the picture. Check out the book “Sanitary Entomology” by William Dwight Pierce. It’s an old one, but it covers a few accounts like this. I’d never have thought it possible if I didn’t read it myself. It seems that the species in Geophilus are the most “common.”

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  3. Down here in Australia when someone is being overly sensitive and irritable we often ask; Well what’s crawled up your butt?
    And now we know.
    🙂

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  4. D: poor baby! i hope she’s feeling better! aren’t some centipedes venomous? could a small amount of venom be the cause of her negative symptoms?

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    • Centipedes do have venom. We can only speculate on the potential of venom being the cause of the symptoms and we would have to defer to the medical community on that.

      Reply
  5. I (in my twenties) just removed a centipede from my bedroom, which got me interested in whether they can be parasites. My mom told me once that she found centipedes near me several times when I was young. Seems to much of a coincidence that other people also witnessed this. So I am very curious what the professional health care has concluded in this case.

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  6. Interesting, I noticed a “millipede” virtually identical to that one in my toilet tonight, given the clear nature of it I assumed it had passed through me. Maybe it was ingested with a salad or the like…

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  7. I had one go in my ear at night, and have been stung several times. Some I can see very well and other I can feel them but not see. I believe they are feeding off of me now, they go in every opening on your body, Im living this nightmare. Others need to be made aware of this.

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  8. hi Chris and Maren,
    this is a Canadian stump stabber. it will not sting you but it could pierce your skin. it will drum its antennas on the dead or decaying wood looking for a grub. then it will insert its “stabber” and inject her eggs into the bug. when the eggs hatch they will eat the grub from inside out. then the babies will go and fly away.
    Nathan
    age: 12
    nathanbrown@gmail.com

    Reply
  9. hi Chris and Maren,
    this is a Canadian stump stabber. it will not sting you but it could pierce your skin. it will drum its antennas on the dead or decaying wood looking for a grub. then it will insert its “stabber” and inject her eggs into the bug. when the eggs hatch they will eat the grub from inside out. then the babies will go and fly away.
    Nathan
    age: 12
    nathanbrown@gmail.com

    Reply
  10. Please inform me and other readers how to get these centipedes out of our body. My father and I have centipedes of the type Lythobius Forficatus in our body. They leave insect bites on the outside of our body sometimes (they are nocturnal preditorial scavangers) suggesting they are on the outside of your body but they are not (only to reproduce). The only way to be sure they are inside is by checking your feces, they leave markings in which the centipede shape is clearly visible. They also make clicking sounds in my throat in the morning like with the woman in India that had it taken out by doctors. The doctors have done a colonoscopy, bronchoscopy, PET scan and CT scan but found nothing, only something in my throat but after checking with a camera again they found nothing. This is because the centipedes shun the light, they run away from it. They are about 1,5 centimeters long. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW TO EXPEL THIS VERMIN FROM OUR BODIES VIA THIS WEBSITE also for other people that have them inside.

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  11. It is possible the Satanic Rockefellers with their eugenics program that have also tortured my mother to death with HAARP control them with Synthetic Telepathy. Hybrid insects are only there to cover up Synthetic Telepathy and the sending of ideas in your own inner voice with Synthetic Telepathy (Remote Neural Monitorring) and Silent Sound. The mainstream media is also urged to contact me to find a way to get these centipedes out of my and my fathers body. Please help!

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  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that fascinating update! I am so looking forward to all manner of life springing forth around here soon!

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  13. Wow, she is beautiful, but I am ever so curious how she ended up in the hand (what an honor), and how brave of Kasie to hold a creature before even knowing what it is… remarkable.

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  14. Just spotted one of these,and never seen such a thing.I live in East Berlin,Pa.Just thought I would write since I never seen one before around here cause I have wood lying around all the time,cause I burn wood.7/24/2014

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  15. I too have a possible centipede-in-stool story. My fit, sensible 82 year old father called me yesterday to say that he’d watched a creature crawl out of the stool he’d just passed in the loo. It hadn’t all flushed and he was just waiting for the cistern to refill for another attempt to flush when he saw something moving. In utter astonishment he watched as this worm-like thing crawled up the near vertical wall of the loo, across the shallower slope of the porcelain until it disappeared under the rim of the loo. He flushed the loo again but the creature didn’t come back out of the water hole. He described it to me as darkish slightly gingery brown, about 3 cm long (just over an inch), equal width all the way up, about 3mm, and it moved as though it had lots of legs under it, though he didn’t have a chance to catch it and check if it actually did have legs. The thing that has astonished him most is that it had antennae, two, at the front, which were possibly 1cm long and were pretty straight, i.e. not curved round. I have looked at various photos of all kinds of revolting intestinal parasites, and of centipedes and millipedes and from what he has clearly described and I have found I think he had a millipede emerge from his poo. I have told him to go to the doctor tomorrow for a stool test to seek out eggs. About a year ago he had an episode of severe, urgent and explosive diarrhoea for a few days and since then his intestinal health has not been quite as it was prior to this, which was put down to some kind of gastric ‘flu. However I now think that some kind of infestation could have happened, possibly due to ingesting millipede eggs from salad (?) or something of that ilk. Any thoughts from this forum would be gratefully received.

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    • I had a similar story..
      One of my patients came to me yesterday and showed my a video with similiar characters to what have you described. He had abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting for the last 2 weeks.
      Stool sample as sent for analysis. Have you got any answer about your father stool analysis?

      Mysterious, I haven’t seen like this before.

      I have a copy of the video for any one interested.

      Reply
  16. Hi, I just got bit on my foot in bed. When I got up I saw this insect, which I have identified as an ichneumon wasp. It was pretty painful! So, yes they do sting!

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  17. I have a very similar experience that just happened awhile ago and im so scared right now… hows your father now? Any findings on what it is? Hope all is well.

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  18. Hi Don,
    Sorry to say that although my dad did give a stool sample to his GP he still has not had any results from it. In fact he has not heard back from them at all. However, he has just had a blood test for his thyroid function, which was due anyway, and when he goes in to pick up those results he will ask for his stool test results too. It is about one month since he provided them with the stool sample, and one month is long enough for anything to have shown itself, so if we don’t get some results soon I will be following this up myself. My dad is in London and I am in Sussex, so it is not straight forward for me to demand things from his doctors surgery, but I will do my best if necessary.
    Can you describe what you saw? I know it is horrid and very disturbing, but it is probably worth writing it down in this forum, as you never know who might be able to either help identify the thing, or if not, like you have, report something similar, and anonymity is yours.
    I should add, if you feel well (as my dad does) that is a very significant point. Don’t worry yourself into feeling ill will you!

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  19. Hi Don,
    Sorry to say that although my dad did give a stool sample to his GP he still has not had any results from it. In fact he has not heard back from them at all. However, he has just had a blood test for his thyroid function, which was due anyway, and when he goes in to pick up those results he will ask for his stool test results too. It is about one month since he provided them with the stool sample, and one month is long enough for anything to have shown itself, so if we don’t get some results soon I will be following this up myself. My dad is in London and I am in Sussex, so it is not straight forward for me to demand things from his doctors surgery, but I will do my best if necessary.
    Can you describe what you saw? I know it is horrid and very disturbing, but it is probably worth writing it down in this forum, as you never know who might be able to either help identify the thing, or if not, like you have, report something similar, and anonymity is yours.
    I should add, if you feel well (as my dad does) that is a very significant point. Don’t worry yourself into feeling ill will you!

    Reply
  20. Hi there, I believe the guys that commented they have them because I have one in my nose right now an dont know what to do? Please , any help would be appreciated greatly! Have you or your husband been to Iraq or the mid east in the last ten years? I think mine are from being there because I have had a skin problem for ten years since I got back> Its been mis diagnosed so many times its hard to believe but finally a month ago I had flies growing out of me in my sores an I had hook worms so I started taking 400mg of albendazole . After taking the med for 15days the centipede just showed itself to me last night! Mine had 2eyes an I hear the clicking at night in my kitchen. So even though she shows no symtoms dont mean she is clear of everything an I say that because what ever this is , is very elusive ! I have a appointment w infectious disease next week an hope to find out something but so far the doctors an dermatologist Ive been to have not helped me at all!! I have read an researched every night trying to find the answers! by the way the meds im taking is only supposed to be took for three days an im on day 15.

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  21. Wish I did. I had the chance because I saw it sitting on the mirror before I got into the shower. Then whilst in the shower, I feel a sting on my back, I reacted by swatting my back and it falls into the shower tray – smothered it with shampoo and flushed it down the plug hole. It’s not like I disturbed it, it just decided to take a bite.

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  22. I live in Florida and have seen and heard of terrible stories about these multi-legged creatures. One form, called “earwigs” are known to slip into ears and crawl up butts! A few years back I was outside doing the yard and was under a low hanging tree for close to an hour, afterwards as I settled down inside after dark, I began to itch, right in the middle of my upper back. I thought it a bug, so I swatted at the area, and the itching stopped, only to intensify later. I check my back and discovered a low bump. Assuming I had been bitten, I took it for a sting, so I made a paste of meat tenderizer and a little water and spread it thickly over the area. I expected it to sting a little, but it got increasing annoying. Finally after a bout 2 hours or so, I took a shower. A few minutes after sudsing and rinsing, I noticed a “pede” of some type in the tub, rather large too, and that spot on my back was open! Apparently it buried into my skin. Most creatures that bury in skin, lay eggs… so I put more tenderizer on the area, but nothing exited. I may have evacuated it before it had a chance to lay eggs. Recently, I saw something similar in the toilet after a general detoxing program. The other day, I was having some urethral itching. I went to the toilet thinking I may have a UTI after the detox, but when I urinated, in the toilet was a small almost transparent “pede” looking thing there. We are constantly being invaded by all kinds of creatures that creep and crawl… eeww! Keep hydrated and detox regularly is my two cents

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  23. I have had severe abdominal pain for over 3 months now. Every possible test done but all clear. 2 weeks ago I passed what looked like string & what looked like bean sprout (neither had been eaten).
    I took photo to doc who prescribed ovex. These helped as I passed literally thousands of worms.
    I also passed a centipede type creature.
    I an back to full illness now
    Docs can’t figure it out .
    Any ideas???

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  24. I have had severe abdominal pain for over 3 months now. Every possible test done but all clear. 2 weeks ago I passed what looked like string & what looked like bean sprout (neither had been eaten).
    I took photo to doc who prescribed ovex. These helped as I passed literally thousands of worms.
    I also passed a centipede type creature.
    I an back to full illness now
    Docs can’t figure it out .
    Any ideas???

    Reply
  25. The centipedes are still in my and my fathers body. Several people have e mailed me with the same problem AND THEY WHERE MISDIAGNOSED AS WELL!
    The centipedes actually came out of their body and they make rattling noises in my throat which I have recorded (HQ) and you can find more info on my youtube channel, ulrichbchoffmann on youtube.
    A CENTIPEDE CURE IS NEEDED ALSO FOR ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT HAVE EMAILED ME AND PEOPLE MUST BE WARNED ABOUT CENTIPEDES!!!!!!!!iiiiiiiiii
    A video of the types of centipedes that have entered and reproduced in humans (pseudo parasitic centipedes) is also found on my channel and the common house centipede is one of them. So do a bug check and never sleep in a house where you saw a centipede. They always travel in pairs and there is no cure yet. I offer a 150 $ reward for anyone with an effective cure. More is discussible.

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  26. The centipedes are still in my and my fathers body. Several people have e mailed me with the same problem AND THEY WHERE MISDIAGNOSED AS WELL!
    The centipedes actually came out of their body and they make rattling noises in my throat which I have recorded (HQ) and you can find more info on my youtube channel, ulrichbchoffmann on youtube.
    A CENTIPEDE CURE IS NEEDED ALSO FOR ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT HAVE EMAILED ME AND PEOPLE MUST BE WARNED ABOUT CENTIPEDES!!!!!!!!iiiiiiiiii
    A video of the types of centipedes that have entered and reproduced in humans (pseudo parasitic centipedes) is also found on my channel and the common house centipede is one of them. So do a bug check and never sleep in a house where you saw a centipede. They always travel in pairs and there is no cure yet. I offer a 150 $ reward for anyone with an effective cure. More is discussible.

    Reply
  27. I just casually reached out to rescue one that had landed on my computer screen, and as I cupped it in my hand, it stung me on my fingertip and it hurt like the dickens for several minutes. So now he’s still flying around my office somewhere, I’ll never sleep again.

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  28. Hi just want to ask, can a baby centipide crawl inside your anus? Omg. Im getting paranoid. Lastday i was at the bathroom and i saw a baby centipede on my legs oh my god. And im seeing 2 baby centipede on the floor too, im afraid now because maybe they can enter into my anus…………can anyone here advice me? Thank you!!!

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  29. In Washington State working for a wood bark and wood products company. I am the safety guy here and we have had 2 injuries due to insect bites. Both times they thought they had been stung by a bee. 2 days later severe swelling and red streaking from the arm down the side of the body. I have been told maybe a stump fucker (regional name I’m sure). Nobody has actually seen the insect doing to biting. Running a grinder , eating up softwoods mostly here. Is there a wood wasp that stings? Thanks.

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  30. Ok ,
    Another case of the same kind of centipede hapoened to us yesterday in the clinic. The same creature had crwled out from a baby’s butt.
    I can’t attach a photo here, but I have it on my phone.
    Such a mystery.

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  31. Ok ,
    Another case of the same kind of centipede hapoened to us yesterday in the clinic. The same creature had crwled out from a baby’s butt.
    I can’t attach a photo here, but I have it on my phone.
    Such a mystery.

    Reply
  32. We saw a tinny transparent centipede in a stoll of one puppy with diarrhea in Veterinary Hospital of one animal rescue in Canada. We confirmed by checking it on microscope. Everyone was shocked seeing this weird parasite! It looked different than regular centipedes, with rudimentary eyes and legs, but long tail divided in two equal parts – double tail, and segmented body. Tinny internal organs of that transparent creature were visible – intestines and other organs, there were not many. A head was very small.
    Are there any esearchers that know more about this parasitic form of centipedes?

    Reply
  33. We saw a tinny transparent centipede in a stoll of one puppy with diarrhea in Veterinary Hospital of one animal rescue in Canada. We confirmed by checking it on microscope. Everyone was shocked seeing this weird parasite! It looked different than regular centipedes, with rudimentary eyes and legs, but long tail divided in two equal parts – double tail, and segmented body. Tinny internal organs of that transparent creature were visible – intestines and other organs, there were not many. A head was very small.
    Are there any esearchers that know more about this parasitic form of centipedes?

    Reply
  34. I am in shock of how crazy I sound when I talk anbout this with ano9ther person, so to tell my doctor I fret andi haven’t. this post is everything my thoughts are but others typing it.i hear clicking in my throat and feel like something is sitting/resting there perhaps relaxing and breathing almost. I feel it doing somresaults in my butt. I hear constant buzzing and when I feel like I need to go to the bathroom I rush and then when I sit down its a painful pinching and then the sumersaulting again. ive pulled hair out that wasn’t mine that looked like a rabit and now im wondering is this a carnivore. it felt like it were. but is it feeding on something larger and growing, somedays I feel like it left me, and its over, but then ill slumber and upon waking its worse then it was. like it returned while I was aslpeep. what is it? that’s the worst part. wand when its bad its really bad. and if it moves up my body I feel like im ripping and when I feel it on my back if it doesn’t sting me it feels like its burnig me or when I look there later there are markings like a scratch from a dog along my back but lots of times their horizontally cut and so thin like angel hair thin the only reason I even see them is cause I will feel it then get realllly close to the mirror and then I see it. but then I wonder if it is a scratch or if its the worm millipede thing cuz if I run it I feel llke it starts to moveish and come off but if it were a scab it would chip off and rebled it never bleeds it just like crumbs into a blackish blue looking resin substance I feel like its eggs cause their always the same size when I roll them up and it will be like a few of th

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  35. im not sure if a centipede is inside my body, because when i was urinating, then i look at the toilet bowl, it has a small centipede, which im not sure if it came out of me, i always checked the toilet bowl when i am going to pee, but this time im not really sure, im scared, i read a lot of the comments, and it looks like there are no symptoms if you have it in you, also im reading about centipedes, they cannot repopulate unless their is only 1 centipede in your body, but im not sure if its only one, because the one i saw is a baby, i will monitor myself for 3 days, then i will get a fecalysis and urinalysis to be sure. this is frightening. 🙁

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  36. A few days ago I passed a parasite that looked like the thing in the picture. I do internal cleanses and took a probiotic. I also decreased my sugar about the same time. Early in the morning, I used the restroom. A critter that looked like the one pictured fell into the toilet. It moved for seconds. I wanted to scream. I couldnt find anything on the web that looked like it.

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  37. The living centipedes found in the toilet almost certainly crawled onto the toilet bowl and fell in. Centipedes do not have the ability to survive human stomach acid and digestive enzymes. The child in the original post and one commenter seem to have accidentally ingested the centipedes and passed the exoskeleton, hence the clear color. Young children put all kinds of things in their mouths, so I suspect that’s how she got it inside of her.

    Centipedes like to hide in dark places, but will avoid large animals if they can. They will occasionally hide in sleeves, shoes, or pant legs. When frightened, like when you try to chase them off your body, some species can and will bite (some are not physically capable of biting through human skin), and many have venom that stings. They are not climbing your leg to access your nether regions. They are simply too stupid to know the tunnel they hid in was human clothing. Rodents will sometimes run up pant legs, too, when they’re scared.

    The organisms that do deliberately enter the human body, like bot fly, guinea worm, etc., have adaptations for doing so, and there is substantial, not rare anecdotal, evidence of them doing so. The individuals experiencing sensations that feel like creatures inside their bodies should see their doctors but be open to other possibilities than infestation. If they’re insistent that it’s an infestation, evidence needs to be collected, like photographs of lesions, discharge collected into sterile containers and refrigerated until a doctor can test them, detailed diaries of diet, habits, and when the crawly sensations occur, etc. Very few doctors will take “because it feels like bugs” as real evidence of infestation, especially if there is no clinical/scientific history of that particular creature deliberately infesting a human, vs. accidentally being eaten or hiding in an open orifice. Detailed and complete data and evidence collection will help diagnose if an infestation is occurring and is simply very rare and to determine if there is another condition or conditions causing symptoms.

    Reply
  38. The living centipedes found in the toilet almost certainly crawled onto the toilet bowl and fell in. Centipedes do not have the ability to survive human stomach acid and digestive enzymes. The child in the original post and one commenter seem to have accidentally ingested the centipedes and passed the exoskeleton, hence the clear color. Young children put all kinds of things in their mouths, so I suspect that’s how she got it inside of her.

    Centipedes like to hide in dark places, but will avoid large animals if they can. They will occasionally hide in sleeves, shoes, or pant legs. When frightened, like when you try to chase them off your body, some species can and will bite (some are not physically capable of biting through human skin), and many have venom that stings. They are not climbing your leg to access your nether regions. They are simply too stupid to know the tunnel they hid in was human clothing. Rodents will sometimes run up pant legs, too, when they’re scared.

    The organisms that do deliberately enter the human body, like bot fly, guinea worm, etc., have adaptations for doing so, and there is substantial, not rare anecdotal, evidence of them doing so. The individuals experiencing sensations that feel like creatures inside their bodies should see their doctors but be open to other possibilities than infestation. If they’re insistent that it’s an infestation, evidence needs to be collected, like photographs of lesions, discharge collected into sterile containers and refrigerated until a doctor can test them, detailed diaries of diet, habits, and when the crawly sensations occur, etc. Very few doctors will take “because it feels like bugs” as real evidence of infestation, especially if there is no clinical/scientific history of that particular creature deliberately infesting a human, vs. accidentally being eaten or hiding in an open orifice. Detailed and complete data and evidence collection will help diagnose if an infestation is occurring and is simply very rare and to determine if there is another condition or conditions causing symptoms.

    Reply
  39. I was stung by one recently, they’ve been hanging @ my front porch at night and one fell down the back of my sweater, stung me three or four times. Angry lil guy… or girl, i’ll report back if larvae ttry to eat me!

    BTW, Calamine took care of the pain. Sting was minor, less painful than a bee.

    Also, i’m leaving the accidental T in for dramatic effect.

    Reply
  40. I was stung by one recently, they’ve been hanging @ my front porch at night and one fell down the back of my sweater, stung me three or four times. Angry lil guy… or girl, i’ll report back if larvae ttry to eat me!

    BTW, Calamine took care of the pain. Sting was minor, less painful than a bee.

    Also, i’m leaving the accidental T in for dramatic effect.

    Reply
  41. Just found one in our apartment in Salt Lake City, Utah. I figured it was a wasp of some kind, so we didn’t risk leaving it in the house. My wife accidentally injured it, but I took it outside anyway. Didn’t want to risk getting stung.

    Reply
  42. I saw one of these wasps inside the window screen; it had been there overnight. I always rescue insects (except mosquitoes), so I picked it up by its wings. It curved its stinger to reach my finger and started to sting me. I quickly let go and removed it with a piece of cardboard. Yes, they do sting humans.

    Reply
  43. Dear What’s That Bug

    I am happy to tell some good news.
    I am an older person and have a caregiver. We live in the country, on the Banks of the Tumbling Parus.
    Insects are part of everyday life.

    We have some good bugs. My caregiver used to be afraid of them. She still has arachnophobia. But now she has started taking pictures of them, so she can hear my stories.

    She wants to know if they are dangerous and what do they eat.

    This is great! Just a year ago, if she saw a big bug,she would have killed it and went to the fainting couch.

    This year, she took pictures of our local Dynastes, and something she called an ant beetle. A colorful little fellow.

    This is so wonderful to see.

    Reply

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